- Gender and Relationships»
How to Identify a Toxic Relationship
How to Know When a Relationship or Friendship is Toxic
Friendships and relationships in life can be very heart warming, loving, caring, and are an important aspect in ones life. Relationships help build ones character and personality. Each person in the relationship should allow one to grow, each person should show respect and not judge one another. Even though there are many friendships and relationships that are extremely positive in ones life and important to maintain, there are relationships and friendships that are toxic that many people cultivate as well. It can become difficult to identify a toxic relationship at times, and it can also be hard to end a toxic relationship, especially if the two people involved have given all of their strength to keep the relationship or friendship alive. Even when someone tries to stay strong in a toxic relationship, they still become poisoned, and inevitably the relationship and friendship will not survive, instead it will slowly kill each person slowly, sucking all of the emotion out of each individual, causing depression, anxiety, stress, and other negative effects to ones mental and physical health. It is difficult to create and maintain healthy relationships in life, but it should never cause one to become overwhelmed, angry, and stressed to try to preserve the relationship or friendship. A friendship or relationship should allow one to feel happy, loved, and comfortable in all aspects of life. There are many signs for one to become aware of to identify whether or not they are trying to maintain a relationship or friendship that is toxic, and if one believes they are trying to preserve a toxic relationship, one must make the critical decision to stop poisoning themselves, and move on so one is able to grow strong in a positive and healthy manner.
The Signs of a Toxic Relationship:
The Relationship has Ceased in Growth and has Come to a Stand Still
A healthy relationship or friendship is in a constant state of growth, the people involved always learn and accept something new about the other, while supporting and helping each other along the way. When a relationship becomes toxic, the relationship stops growing and becomes still, and the people involved no longer gain a desire to support or help each other to begin to grow once again.
The People Involved in the Relationship Compete with Each Other
In a healthy relationship there is no need for unnecessary competition because each individual understands that they are different and use their differences in a positive way. In a toxic relationship the people involved unknowingly compete with each other and try to “one up” each other. Sometimes competition can be extremely healthy and useful, because competition allows people to overcome obstacles they once believed that they could not, but when people compete in every aspect of life it is unhealthy since it causes tension, stress, anxiety, and feelings of not being good enough. If people are competing for unnecessary reasons it is a sign that the relationship or friendship has become toxic.
The People in the Relationship Judge Each Others Character
When maintaining a healthy relationship the people involved never judge each other, instead there is an understanding and knowledge that mistakes are a part of life, and instead of judging, they give advice and aid one in learning the necessary lessons that the mistakes should teach. In a toxic relationship, instead of giving advice and helping one to come to the realization of mistakes, the people involved judge each other, keep quite, and then in turn talk negatively about each other to other people. When people openly judge each other it becomes demeaning and causes depression (judgment leads to one to feel negative about themselves, their character, and their life). A relationship should be uplifting to ones character, not judgmental and demeaning.
The People in the Relationship Dwell on the Past and Hold onto Anger
Mistakes are a part of life, for people to build and maintain a healthy relationship the people involved must let go of the past, forgive mistakes, and never hold on to unnecessary anger. When people are involved in a friendship or relationship and cannot let go of anger that was developed in the past, they will never be able to grow together and move into the future, instead they must let go of each other and grow apart. Ones past mistakes should never come back to haunt them, the other person in the friendship or relationship should help expel past mistakes and anger instead of throwing it in their face every opportunity that presents itself.
The Relationship has an Abundance of Jealousy
Trust is a crucial aspect of any friendship and relationship, the people involved must trust each other and allow each other to live as individuals. When jealousy begins to form it proves that there is a serious lack of trust in the friendship or relationship. Jealousy also highlights ones insecurities and self consciousness. When one is jealous of another it most generally has nothing to do with the other person but it is a conscious and subconscious reaction to ones personal emotions. If there is an abundance of jealousy in a friendship or relationship it is a clear sign that it will not work for the long haul.
The Relationship has a Serious Lack of Communication
Open communication is very important when trying to establish a long lasting relationship. If the people involved keep their feelings and emotions bottled up inside of them instead of talking to the other when certain feelings arise, anger and resentment begins to present itself, which causes one to explode and ruin the relationship very quickly.
Either One or All People Involved in the Relationship Manipulate, Use and Abuse the Other(s)
In every relationship there is always something that the people involved want and desire. In a healthy relationship the people involved crave love, compassion, and intimacy, but in a toxic relationship there is a different, underlying desire and that desire is not love, but something that may be a bit more materialistic. In a relationship there should never be any manipulation for one to get what they want, no one should feel used, and one should ever feel emotionally and/or physically abused. If any person feels manipulated, used, and abused it is a clear sign that the relationship is toxic and is slowly causing harm in ones life.
The Relationship Highlights Negative Attributes, Flaws, and Insecurities
In a strong and healthy relationship each persons positive attributes and assets become apparent, but in a toxic relationship it is the exact opposite. A toxic and unstable relationship will highlight each persons flaws, mistakes, negative attributes, and insecurities. One should always surround themselves with those who are uplifting, caring, loving, and aid in ones growth, instead of surrounding oneself with those who create negativity, stress, and anxiety in ones life.
The Relationship Causes Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Other Ill Effects
A toxic relationship causes a lot of ill effects in ones life, it will cause depression, anxiety, fear, stress, insecurities, and many other negative emotional and physical health effects. If one begins to feel sick with stress, begins to experience panic attacks due to anxiety, can't get out of bad because of depression, or having any feelings of fear, anger, and/or being undermined at all, it is a very strong sign that the friendship or relationship is toxic and it is actually causing one to become ill.
How to End the Toxic Relationship in A Mature Manner so Each Individual can Grow Apart
When one comes to the realization that a relationship or friendship has become or always has been toxic, it is important to end the relationship in a mature manner so each individual can move on with their lives, grow apart, so that they can lead healthy lives and focus on and build positive relationships. When people focus all of their attention and puts all of their energy into a toxic relationship there is not any time to focus on other friendships and relationships that allow one to grow in a positive way and to become a better person. It is extremely difficult to come to a realization that a relationship is hurtful and it is even more difficult to be able to walk away in a mature way, but if the relationship is not ended in a mature manner then people will hold on to unnecessary anger toward each other for an extended period of time, which only hurts the people involved more deeply. Since there tends to be a serious lack of communication in toxic relationships, it can become difficult to end the relationship in a healthy manner, and usually leads to ending the relationship through text, email, letters, or other forms of impersonal means of communication. It is not necessarily a bad thing to communicate and end a relationship or friendship in an impersonal way because it is impossible to get into a heated argument and screaming match (if the people involved chose spoke face to face it is almost impossible not to argue). If each person explains to the other of their feelings, anger, and pain and come to an equal understanding that the relationship is toxic then hatred and feelings of revenge will lessen. When ending a toxic relationship it is important for each person to vent, come to an equal understanding, wish each other luck, cease communication, and never worry about the how the other lives their lives again.
Always forgive, let go, move on, and be free from the negativity.
One should never allow a toxic relationship or friendship to close off ones mind and heart. One should always keep the mind open and the heart warm and allow for others to reach into ones soul. Even if one has come to the decision to let go of a toxic relationship it is important to keep the favorable memories alive and learn the valuable lessons. Just because a relationship or friendship had turned sour does not mean one cannot keep them close in ones heart forever especially if they were once near and dear.
Have you ever had a toxic relationship or friendship?
- Forgiveness is Powerful
Forgiveness is power. Forgiveness is happiness. Forgiveness is healthy. Learn how to forgive for yourself, not for anyone else.
© 2013 Jami Johnson